President Obama sounded a lot like Jimmy Carter when he released his doomsday report on global warming, er, climate change.
It was 34 years ago that Carter issued his own primal scream, called “The Global 2000 Report,” about the coming mass starvation from food shortages, the planet running out of oil and drinking water, overpopulation and other horrors. It was all bunk and contradicted by the subsequent real-world events, but now Obama is adopting the role of fearmonger in chief.
Obama reiterated the usual mantra of a “scientific consensus about global warming” and then he added this dire warning: “We want to emphasize to the public that climate change is not some problem in the distant future. It is happening right now whether that means increased flooding, more vulnerability to drought or severe wildfires.” You can’t even run for the hills because they will be on fire.
What the president didn’t say in his doomsday report is that the vaunted climate change models have already been wrong, wrong, wrong for the past decade.
The heat wave we were supposed to experience never showed up – even though China and India and Mexico and many other nations emitted record amounts of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The last 10 years have been cooler than the 1930s – before 90 percent of the carbon was emitted into the earth’s atmosphere.
This doesn’t prove or disprove global warming, but it is, as Al Gore would say, “an inconvenient truth.”
But is there any truth to President Obama’s declaration that the ravaging effects of global warming are already upon us? We checked the historical record on extreme weather events and will let the official evidence speak for itself and then readers can make up their own minds.
Tornadoes: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, “There has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.”
Extreme temperatures: NOAA’s U.S. Climate Extremes Index of unusually hot or cold temperatures finds that over the last 10 years, five years have been below the historical mean and five above the mean.
Severe drought/extreme moisture: While higher than average portions of the country were subjected to extreme drought/moisture in the past few years, the 1930s, 40s and 50s were more extreme in this regard. In fact, over the last 10 years, four years have been below the average and six above the average.
Hurricane activity: Government statistics and academic research show that hurricane activity is actually at historic lows. According to the National Hurricane Center, in 2013, “There were no major hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin for the first time since 1994. And the number of hurricanes this year was the lowest since 1982.”
And there is still more good news: The eastern Pacific Ocean had only one major hurricane in 2013. Only 1968 – which had no major hurricanes in either the Atlantic Basin or eastern Pacific – was more calm in the regard.
According to Ryan Maue at Weather Bell Analytics, “We are currently in the longest period since the Civil War Era without a major hurricane strike in the U.S. (i.e., category 3, 4 or 5). The last major hurricane to strike the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma during late October of that record-breaking year of 2005.”
Cyclones: Maue reports that “the global frequency of tropical cyclones has reached a historical low.”
Floods: Roger Pielke Jr., past chairman of the American Meteorological Society Committee on Weather Forecasting and Analysis, reports that “floods have not increased in the U.S. in frequency or intensity since at least 1950. Flood losses as a percentage of U.S. GDP have dropped by about 75 percent since 1940.”
Catastrophic weather events: Pielke concludes, “There is no evidence that disasters are getting worse because of climate change. … It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate time scales either in the United States or globally.”
One of the best measures of extreme weather events is losses to insurance companies, which protect against catastrophic losses. Globally, weather-related losses have actually decreased by about 25 percent since 1960.
Of course, these weather patterns of the last few decades prove nothing about any long-term change in the Earth’s temperature or atmospheric conditions. Thirty years is an eye blink in the history of the planet.
Even if all of the above trends were in the crisis direction that Obama implied, it still would prove nothing. More than 100 years ago, some statisticians looked at the rising level of the Nile River and extrapolated that the entire Middle East would be underwater by now. It was a statistical blip.
Liberals wonder why the nation is filled with so many global warming skeptics. It is because of shoddy research like this that seems designed to scare the American people into surrendering more of their freedoms and reducing their standard of living. Here’s some good news: we don’t have to.
Originally appeared in the Orange County Register.